rising tide meets patient seller, so 13 Jay Street loft sells

April 4 listing leads to April 10 deal for Tribeca loft, though there were many holidays in between

Far be it from Manhattan Loft Guy to tempt fate by saying something like “there’s nothing worse than …”, as Life can surprise you in all the wrong ways. So let’s begin the discussion of the June sale of the “1,860 sq ft” Manhattan loft on the 3rd floor at 13 Jay Street by saying that there are few things as frustrating for searchers ready to buy a loft than to be confronted with a seller who is both (a) over-priced and (b) in no hurry to sell. As they say, it takes a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither under compulsion, to make a market. My buyers saw this lovely loft soon after it was first offered, were intrigued, but we agreed that the loft was then asking beyond what the value was for my buyers (and, likely, beyond what The Market would offer).

The first price drop didn’t help (enough). By the time the asking price more closely aligned with The Market, my buyers were about to buy another property, which they did. The Market gave this seller a lot of feedback, much of which was ignored until Groundhog’s Day:

April 4, 2014 new to market $2.995mm
May 20 $2.85mm
July 31 hiatus
Sept 4 back on the market
Nov 24 hiatus
Feb 3, 2015 back on the market $2.695mm
April 10 contract
June 26 sold $2.65mm

That’s 53 weeks between coming to market and contract, though the two extended hiatuses had the loft on the sidelines for five weeks at the end of last Summer and then 10 weeks from Thanksgiving to Groundhog’s Day. Even after coming back to market at $2.695mm, it took almost another 10 weeks to (finally!) get to contract … at a time when the common narrative was that (well-priced) Manhattan lofts were flying off the shelves. (My Master List of downtown Manhattan loft sales under $6 million has 19 lofts that closed between February 3 and April 10 and took 30 days or fewer to get into contract, and another 16 that took between 31 and 60 days to get into contract.) Those last 10 weeks suggest that buyers were not eager to bite even after the last price drop, but that someone eventually acquiesced to a seller who was reluctant to budge (much).

But the deal got done. Fifty-three weeks and 11% off the first asking price, 46 weeks and just over 7% off the second asking price; just those last 10 weeks and less than 2% off the last asking price. It helped that the overall Manhattan residential real estate market was up about 6% while the loft was on the market (as measured by the StreetEasy Condo Index, of course); it probably helped more that the seller decided she really did want to sell.

do you see anything flexible about this “3-bedroom” layout?

The loft is a classic full-floor Long-and-Narrow loft, with the three windows on the back wall split between two bedrooms and the three windows in the front split between a home office, the entry, and … the elevator!

no side windows, as is typical of many Long-and-Narrow lofts; the fireplace is not typical, however

As far as light is concerned, the good news is that that home office (“which easily converts to a guest bedroom”) has walls that don’t reach the ceiling and glass french doors; the bad news is that only that middle front window brings natural light into the space.

you’re looking at the only ‘public’ window, and at lighting fixtures bright enough to cast a shadow around the kitchen island

With both long walls being brick, the space would be much darker if the east wall (the longer of the two) did not feature a long run of bricks painted white, as in the edge of the kitchen above. The shorter west wall gets natural brick and features the sort of inset archway that just had to be functional, back in the day:

nice character in that natural brick, moderate in amount and color

Regular readers of Manhattan Loft Guy will understand what I mean when I say that the elevator placement in this footprint is in the ‘wrong’ place for residential purposes, and was almost certainly added in a prior commercial use. Otherwise, why take up one of only three front windows?? And I will bet you a quarter that the first elevator installed in this building opened onto the sidewalk, through the lovely (brown) shutters:

13 Jay is the two windows with fireplace and the line of windows with the white signs, no doubt saying “shaftway” to protect emergency responders

I wil bet you another quarter that the building to the left was built at the same time as 13 Jay Street, by the same owner, at the same time, with elevators added to each at the same (later) time.

With this footprint, there would not be much interior light to be gained by putting the elevator at the far end of the public stairwell instead of in that third front window, so little commercial reason for whoever owned the building when the elevator was put in; and in 1986, when the building was converted to coop, little reason for a developer to go the expense of installing a new elevator north of the stairway (especially as the building was likely to have been residential lofts before being converted to coop as late in Tribeca as 1986).

I’ll not post another photo, but you can see for yourself that the rear windows must face the back of the buildings on Harrison Street just to the north … drawn sheers in listing photos compel that conclusion, even if I hadn’t already peaked though those sheers in real life. In other words, this loft is not going to attract buyers for whom light is a priority. Nor, with that single 3rd floor front window and the buildings across Jay Street being 6 or more stories, will this loft attract buyers with “view” on their wish list.

What you see is what you get: this loft has a sense of volume, some classic loft-y brickwork and detailing, two bedrooms, and the “flexibility” to remove the home office up front to expose that other front window. (Seriously: I don’t see any other flexibility.) Finishes that are nice enough, but as implied by the modest broker babble (and confirmed by my visit In Real Life) neither triple mint nor current. The 5-unit coop is pure no-frills: no basement storage, no roof deck, no amenities. (Maintenance is just a buck and a nickel per foot.)

The buyer pool for this loft loves being in the middle of Tribeca, loves the experience of walking the cobblestones of such a short street, loves the interior experience with the brick and the fireplace. All plusses and minuses taken into account … $1,425/ft in prime Tribeca for a truly lovely loft.

The Market is The Market, is The Market. No matter what the seller may have wanted at the start, or in the middle.

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